Shop For A Cause: World AIDS Day

Saturday, December 1 is World AIDS Day. According to the official website, the day is an opportunity for “people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.”

The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988. Twenty-four years later, much progress has been made in terms of scientific advancement, but there is still a long way to go. More than 25 million people have died from the virus between 1981 and 2007, making it a global pandemic.

Every dollar counts— so what better way to contribute than to shop for the cause? Here are some of our favorite buys from brands that give back to AIDS research.

Shop For A Cause

keychain. watch. purse. tee. bracelet. case. book. lipstick. tote. cover. Belvedere. hightop. drawstring.

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Thanksgiving Day Decor

Happy Thanksgiving from the ASE team! Here’s the holiday scene at Allison’s own home. The best part about the lovely tablescape and decor? Most of the materials and accessories can be found at your local craft store without breaking the bank. Framed family photos are also a great way of adding personality to your table.

Wishing you and your families an evening of warm memories! Share your Thanksgiving tablescapes and decor with us @ASargentEvents or on our Facebook.

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

There are many of reasons to love November, but our favorite, by far, is Thanksgiving! This holiday is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your creativity—not only through your meal, but through your evening’s décor as well. This year, we’re creating a Thanksgiving tablescape that captures the essence of fall and the spirit of giving. Here’s some inspiration and tips to help you create a beautiful tablescape of your own.

Create a Showpiece
A few weeks ago, ASE attended BizBash Ideafest in New York, a trade show for the event planning industry. We noticed a pattern of displaying an elaborate showpiece on a table—a stylish arrangement that catches the eye and draws attention. Even the experts at Southern Living magazine are on to it; we sense a trend in the making!

Photo Credit: Tria Giovan
Tip: Work with what you have! You don’t have to spend big bucks to create an elegant showpiece. In fact, antiques and heirlooms can add charm and heritage to your Thanksgiving table. Think candlesticks, wooden statuettes and even old family photos. Also, aim to incorporate items of different height into your showpiece to create contrasting shapes in your tablescape.
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Make Everyone Feel At Home
Thanksgiving is about bringing friends and family together. But whether you’re entertaining four people or 40 people, it’s important that everyone feels comfortable and at ease. To achieve this, aim for a tablescape with a lived-in, warm feel.

Tip: Skip the linens. A bare table can look just as put-together as a covered one. This idea works especially well for antique tables with a weathered surface or if you’re going for a relaxed or country-style theme.
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Play The Name Game
Placecards are a great way to add a personalized touch to your Thanksgiving table. Even the simplest of cards will give your tablescape a hint of charm.

Tip: Don’t forget the kids! We love the idea of covering a table with plain brown paper and letting the kids create masterpieces around their own place settings.
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Self-Service
As a hostess, you have tons of things to worry about—drinks shouldn’t be one of them. Setting up a self-service bar area lets your focus on more important aspects of your evening.
Tip: No need to over-do it. A small table tucked away in a corner or off to the side works just as well as a fully-stocked bar. This idea can also work buffet-style food if you do not have room on your dining table to fit all of your dishes.
Creating an elegant Thanksgiving tablescape doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult—all it takes it a little bit of creativity. Share your Thanksgiving tablescapes with us @ASargentEvents, or comment and tell us your favorite table-setting tip!

Give Thanks, Give Back This November

Traditionally, November is a month to reflect and give thanks for the people we hold close in our lives. Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit our native New Jersey and the rest of the east coast hard. Here are a few organizations helping those affected by Sandy, as well as a few local and national charities that strive to do good year round for a variety of causes.

Who: Jersey Cares
What: An NJ-based volunteer organization that works for multiple causes throughout the year, including everything from food drives, pet therapy and soup kitchens.  Currently, volunteers are needed to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. ASE’s own Event Assistant Megan McHugh recently spent a day volunteering at a local rehab center with Jersey Cares!
How to help: Visit the website to find events that need volunteers. You can spend as little as one hour; every bit counts. Monetary donations are also welcome.

Who: The Salvation Army
What: The iconic organization focuses on bringing Americans the basic necessities of life—food, shelter and warmth. The Salvation Army also dedicates resources to music programs, missing persons, Christmas and seasonal charities and disaster relief, among other causes. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the South Jersey Salvation Army Division Headquarters was uprooted. After the storm, headquarters relocated to our hometown of Montclair, where ASE founder Allison Sargent spent a day preparing warm meals for those in need.
How to help: Visit the website to find out how to volunteer your time. You can also help by donating clothes to your local Salvation Army thrift store, automobiles, airline miles and monetary donations.

Who: Table to Table
What: A community-based program that collects prepared and perishable meals that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve the hungry around northern NJ.
How to help: Food donations must be prepared or stored in a commercial kitchen or food establishment. You can also volunteer your time and any special services you have to offer.

Who: Wish Upon A Wedding
What: An organization that sponsors free-of-charge weddings for couples facing serious life-altering circumstances. Wish Upon A Wedding takes care of all the wedding planning details, from the venue to the cake.
How to help: Wish Upon A Wedding needs those in the Hospitality and Event Planning industry—caterers, DJs, cake decorators and photographers, this means you!

Who: One Warm Coat
What: An organization whose mission is to “Collect coats to give to those in need, free of charge.” Most coat drives are held around this time, when temperatures are dropping across the country.
How to help: Donate a gently used coat to a local coat drive in your neighborhood, or hold a coat drive of your own. One Warm Coat’s website has guidelines for holding a successful coat drive in your area.

Who: FeedingNYC
What: An organization that hand-delivers full Thanksgiving meals to families in need across the five boroughs. Last year, more than 20,000 meals were delivered to those facing hunger who are in partnership with Women in Need, the Jewish Federation, Catholic Charities and City Harvest.
How to help: Register to volunteer on November 20th, 2012 to pack and deliver meals. You can also choose to sponsor a family—$35 feeds one family, $175 feeds five.

Who: Kessler Foundation
What: A public charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
How to help: ASE has recently been working with the Kessler Foundation to organize a Monte Carlo Night Fundraiser this month; however, as a result of the storm the foundation has decided to postpone their original plans and hold a boardwalk-themed event in honor of the Jersey Shore. This Sandy-relief fundraiser will benefit people with disabilities who were affected by the storm. The event, which is open to the public, will be held on November 15th at the Grove in Cedar Grove, NJ from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets may be purchased in advance online for $50, or at the door for $60. Here’s your invitation!

Tell us, how are you giving back this month? Tweet us your stories at @ASargentEvents.